The rise in smart technology has augmented the use of smart devices for work-related tasks. It impacts worker productivity in fruitful ways, and hence, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is a regular practice in a majority of organizations.
According to ABA, almost 90% of lawyers use mobile phones for work, where 70% of their devices are smartphones; these devices have seeped into the everyday work routine of the legal sector. Industry-specific apps bring forth convenience in dealing with clients and handling documents. Hence unsurprisingly, 94% of the time, smartphone usage is for easy access to emails.
However, this device evolution is not free from limitations where security is concerned. Using unprotected devices for work is a liability, as it exposes your device to threats like cyber-attacks, ransomware, and hackers to name a few. Complacency regarding the usage of unsecured networks and devices can result in massive security breaches leading to data leaks and reputational damage.
Threats to the Legal Industry
The threats posed to privacy by modern technology was a topic that consumed much of 2018 with incidents such as Facebook’s privacy breach. Lawyers are conducting business from the very smartphones that they surf social media applications on—and that places a big question mark over the privacy of confidential information.
According to Gartner, 75 percent of all mobile apps are at risk of vulnerability of exposing device contents to external third parties. Devoid of mobile device management, lawyers are playing into the trap presented by such applications and compromising the very safety that elevated their profession in the first place.
The legal industry’s appeal for hackers is not new – it has been dubbed as the goldmine for hackers due to the confidential and valuable data it keeps safe (remember the Panama Papers?)
A 2017 study found out that every 1 in 5 law firms has experienced some form of a data breach—this means 20% of the legal industry has had their security and sanctity compromised. This was followed by ABA’s Formal Opinion 477R, making it the ethical responsibility of every lawyer to take necessary security steps when using the internet to communicate client data.
If you weren’t doing it out of ethical sincerity, you must do it out of obligation. The recent hacking attempts at the legal industry has made it imperative for lawyers to secure their devices and that of their employees.
Lost or Stolen Devices
ILTA calculates that more than 30 percent of firms have no mobile device policy, leaving them vulnerable to breaches. This, coupled with the possibility of devices being hacked or stolen and leaking important data, makes it all the more important for law firms to devise proper protocols for device management.
In addition to current devices exposing sensitive documents to unsolicited external parties, even data in old devices is not safe. A study found that 15% of data in emails can be recovered from second-hand devices. This poses a serious risk for users that are careless with security.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Under the Formal Opinion 483 issued by the same standing committee in October 2018, lawyers are required to take reasonable measures post-breach to promptly mitigate and stop any damages. This means firms can no longer ignore the need for mobile device management (MDM) technology to protect themselves. The integration and implementation of technological safeguards must be undertaken as a priority to protect operations and clients.
What is MDM?
Mobile device management software manages smart devices remotely, especially when secure networks are not guaranteed. It allows easy control of smartphones, tablets, and similar devices across the organization.
This isn’t a new invention; MDM emerged in the early 2000s as a security measure for digital assistants. However, the technology has evolved to allow compatibility with the latest devices along with protection of secure networks.
The MDM industry continues to find relevance as the need for security increases with remote use of smart technology. Latest MDM products are created to provide effective services either on-premises or through the cloud; as the software sets in with the industry’s context, its market size is expected to reach USD 5.32 billion by 2021.
The Benefits to the Legal Industry
As technology advances and mobile phones become smarter, the possibilities of data theft and breach of client confidentiality looms with more certainty over law firms.Mobile Device Management promises to provide management, better security, higher productivity, and compliance with policies. Here are some of the benefits of integrating a mobile device management plan in your law practice:
Works on Various Devices
MDM effectively administers mobile devices supporting the legal industry through a multilayer security system. It allows a level of configurability to devices, securing and managing all emails, corporate documents, and client data on various operating systems.
Better Enforcement of Policies
It acts as a gateway that allows law firms to improve enforcement of corporate policies and helps them efficiently comply with government regulations.
The legal industry has long overlooked the potential disadvantages of the BYOD policy. With an effective mobile device management plan in place, law practices can ascertain if these devices have been jail-broken, routed or has a VPN installed for ulterior motives.
Protection Against Unsafe Applications
Working as a broad scale knowledge hub, it provides information on the list of applications installed, blocking external apps and games that can potentially cause privacy issues.
Instead, it goes further to track how data is being downloaded and transferred by employees so you don’t miss any potential red-flags while being secured against third party breaches.
Proactive Security Against Data Breach
MDM allows for automatic reactive actions to take place in case of being lost or stolen. If devices stray beyond the edge of permissible areas, it triggers a warning, disables devices and the deletion of contents commences, automatically or on command. This ensures data is not leaked to the public arena and the confidentiality of clients and documents is maintained. This remote management system limits access of unauthorized users, protecting against hackers, ransomware, and cryptocurrency thieves.
Encryption and Backup Support
The software also offers password protection capabilities with complex passwords, which work better at thwarting hacking attempts. Additionally, it encrypts data for secure communication and file-sharing; and it is capable of GPS tracking and backing up data, thus preventing sensitive information from getting lost.
JMARK is proudly leading technological integration across the legal industry. As an esteemed MSP (managed service provider), JMARK prides on its continuous success formed on the pillars of expertise and a stellar track record.
With our years of providing I.T. solutions to the legal industry, comes our deep insight into the problems faced by law practices, such as the threat to privacy through mobile phone breaches.
As one of the leading I.T. security providers in the world, JMARK provides law firms with mobile device management that has been meticulously cultivated to adapt to their needs and most importantly, assist them in keeping the unwavering commitment to safeguard their client’s confidentiality.
As smartphones become more sophisticated, hackers get more advanced to break into the data trusted by your clients in your possession. With attempts to hack into law firm data getting more intricate and direct by the day, the question begs to be asked: is your law firm secured through a mobile device management plan?